PITTSBURGH — A critical decision was just made in the case of Robert Bowers, the suspect in the fatal shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
That decision could affect when we learn key details because a judge just sealed all evidence and documents related to Bowers from the public.
Federal investigators are moving swiftly in the case.
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On Friday, prosecutors requested to have evidence sealed in the case on Monday afternoon, their request was granted.
"This is not something that happens very often," said Blaine Jones, a legal expert. "The request for the sealing of documents, perhaps there is an investigation into something even bigger. The integrity of prosecutions is not disturbed."
Bowers is facing 44 counts in connection with the mass shooting.
Jones told Channel 11 the move to seal documents in high profile federal cases is common, pointing to another domestic terrorism incident: the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013.
"If you look at the Boston Marathon, a lot of those court documents were also sealed because of the sensitive nature of the case," Jones said. "This was an alleged act of domestic terrorism so it's the same playbook as sealing the records."
Bowers has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has requested a jury trial in his case.
Cox Media Group